Fake News: Venezuela Rejects “False Information” on Petro Whitepaper

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The Venezuelan government has recently stated that “false information” about its oil-backed Petro cryptocurrency has been published online. According to Reuters, the government is rejecting a leaked, allegedly fake, Petro whitepaper.

The superintendence of Venezuelan Cryptoassets and Related Activites, bullishly announced late last year by president Nicolás Maduro to “govern” the cryptocurrency and its transactions, told Reuters the whitepaper is false. The entity said:

“Via some digital media, false information has been published regarding a White Paper on Venezuela’s cryptocurrency, the petro, which we categorically reject.”

According to the superintendence, the real Petro whitepaper will “soon” be made public by the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro. The entity’s statement didn’t specify the type of false information, nor did it name any specific media group publishing it.

Likely, it was referring to a Reddit post from about two weeks ago, that claimed Petro could be an ERC-20 token. The post reportedly found Petro’s whitepaper, a document the Venezuelan government hasn’t confirmed or denied being authentic, but that is seemingly hosted on the government’s official website.

The whitepaper itself seems to be authentic. Whether it’s merely an early version of the document or a complete one remains to be seen. The document doesn’t mention “Ethereum” or “ERC20” anywhere, and as proof of its claims the redditor who created the thread only points to images of physical representations of Ethereum’s tokens hosted on the government’s website.

Notably, the whitepaper mentioned in the Reddit thread states that only those with access to the bolivar will be able to purchase the Petro. Moreover, it states the cryptocurrency’s blockchain would be public. It reads (roughly translated):

“The Petro, like the rest of the cryptocurrencies, is managed through operating systems supported by free software. In block chains or blockchain, all the transactions made by buyers and sellers without intermediaries are captured. Therefore, the operations leave a record and are visible to investors.”

Although a lot is still unknown about the oil-backed cryptocurrency and the “leaked” whitepaper could be forged, we already know the government plans on conducting a token sale to distribute the 100 million Petros the country’s president ordered. About 38 million Petros will be sold to institutional investors in a month-long presale that’s set to begin on February 15, and should bring in $1.3 billion. Per Reuters, institutional investors will be offered a discount of up to 60 percent on the token.

Then, a public token sale will be held, in which 44 million tokens will be sold. Officials expect this phase of the sale to bring in $2.4 billion. The remaining 18 million tokens will go to a panel of advisers that supported the government an aided in the creation of the cryptocurrency, and to the government itself.

As previously covered by CCN, the opposition-run Venezuelan congress recently outlawed the cryptocurrency, as an “illegal and unconstitutional” instrument. It’s seen as an “effort to illegally mortgage” the country’s oil reserves. Nevertheless, Maduro already pitched the cryptocurrency to Qatar in an attempt to gain the latter as an early investor.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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